Republican reaction to Donald Trump as their presumptive presidential nominee is all over the map. Of course there are those who are lining up to support him, some are digging in their heels and saying #NeverTrump, and a few are simply planning to remain silent. Regardless of how you feel about Trump’s candidacy, it is possible to make a case that those are principled positions. But the most bizarre (and unprincipled) reaction comes from those who are saying that they’ll “wait and see.”
“Donald Trump has the opportunity to unite the party, but if he’s going to build that wall that he keeps talking about, he’s going to have to mend a lot of fences,” said Collins. “He’s going to have stop with gratuitous personal insults.”
“You mean, like saying Ted Cruz’s father killed JFK,” the host interjected.
“Yes, that was the most bizarre yet, I think,” responded Collins, adding Trump needed to now articulate what his presidency would look like through policy, plans, and programs beyond his slogan.
“I think he’s perfectly capable of doing that,” Collins said. “It will be interesting to see whether he changes his style, he starts acting more presidential, and whether he brings people together.”
That is a bizarre position on a couple of levels. First of all, does Collins really need Trump to articulate in more specificity his proposals like banning all Muslims from immigrating to the U.S.? Or his plans to deport all undocumented immigrants? Or targeting the families of terrorists? Or reduce taxes by $1 trillion per year and balance the federal budget? Or his promise to torture prisoners? Or his plan to start a trade war with China? I could go on, but perhaps you get the point. Trump’s policy, plans and programs are absurd and dangerous. Getting into them in more detail over the next six months won’t change that reality.
Secondly, there is this ludicrous notion that the Donald is going to start acting “more presidential” and stop the “gratuitous personal insults.” What Collins probably means is that he will stop bullying Republicans and focus his attacks on Clinton. We all know that is coming. But the truth is that Trump hasn’t just been bullying politicians. He goes after anyone that he sees as a challenge to his ego. Over the last few months that has included Mexican immigrants, the disabled, reporters, women, etc.
I find it hard to comprehend how anyone would think that a man with a long history of narcissistic bullying is suddenly going to become “presidential” over the next few months. Contrary to what some people would have you believe, this isn’t an act that Trump has assumed since he became a reality TV star or decided to run for president. He has a long record on that front. Perhaps some people have forgotten about how he called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five before they were ever convicted. Recently we’ve been hearing about his attack on Native Americans when he was battling them over casinos.
The most egregious example of this came in 2000 in upstate New York, when Trump began bankrolling an ad campaign to stop a casino from being built in the Catskills. As the New York Times reported last month, the local newspaper ads showed “hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia … [and] warned in dire terms that violent criminals were coming to town.”
“Are these the kind of neighbors we want?” the ad asked, referring to the St. Regis Mohawks Tribe at Akwesasne, which was planning to build the casino. “The St. Regis Mohawk record of criminal activity is well-documented.”
This narcissistic bullying from Trump is not an act. Its who he is. As I’ve said before, if you doubt that, go back and read what Mark Bowden wrote about the time he spent with Trump in 1996.
It just might be possible for Trump to keep a lid on things over the next six months (although I doubt it). But this is the temperament of the guy the Republicans will nominate to be our next president. No one needs to wait and see how all of that is going to turn out. The idea of sending a narcissistic bully to the White House should be unthinkable.